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Market : Generali eyeing acquisitions in India, Vietnam

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Italy’s insurance giant Generali wants to expand in Asia, notably in India and Vietnam, its president said, financial daily Il Sole 24 Ore reported on Thursday.

“We’re looking at India and in the near future our development in that area will reach Vietnam as well,” Cesare Geronzi said after a conference on Wednesday. Geronzi however said Generali does “not have any concrete offers” on the table for acquisitions in Asia and that it would buy “only what is needed.”

Generali, the largest foreign insurer in China, has a strong presence in Asia with businesses in India, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Japan and Hong-Kong.

Last year, the company obtained a licence to start doing business in Vietnam but it is still waiting for an authorisation to begin operations there.

Generali’s chief executive Sergio Balbinot on Wednesday also said in the group was interested in expanding in Asia. “We are looking at all of the opportunities where we are already present, but we don’t want to disperse ourselves in every country,” Balbinot told French business daily La Tribune.

Rumors that Generali could be interested in certain assets of AIG’s Asian unit AIA circulated in June after British insurer Prudential abandoned its ambitious takeover plan of the unit.

Last year, Generali had already tried to buy AIA’s assets in the Philippines.

Rome, Aug 26, 2010 (AFP)